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In his letter of Feb. 24, “Critique of culinary culture,” Grant Piper confesses to being a “food barbarian.” How, and why, a “food barbarian” can criticize top chefs in the Feb. 21 article “Tokyo’s samurai chefs devoted to their craft” is a bit confusing.

They say there are two groups of people: those who live to eat and those who eat to live. Clearly, Piper is of the latter “gas station” (his words) variety. The problem is that he seems to insist that everyone else should hold the same values. To each his own, I say.

The chefs featured in the article are no doubt a minority that cater to a niche market. They have chosen to sacrifice a lot for their work, and nowhere in the article does it say everyone should follow suit. One can also argue that those at the highest level of any endeavor, whether it be art or sport, indeed sacrifice some part of their lives to get there.

The larger point is that Piper argues for a world where “functionality” trumps everything else, that any display of skill is seen as vice and pride — in short, a world without art. How boring that would be. We should not expect the finest food all the time, but at least have the right to choose.

eric luong